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CCU 25,384 7 





Wallace Rice 

John Greenleaf Whittier, poet and Quaker, was born 
December 17, 1807, in the Whittier homestead in East 
Haverhill, Mass. This old house was built by Thomas 
Whittier, the first of the name in America, the date of 
erection being about 1688. It is still standing, the prop- 
erty of the Whittier Club. The "old, rude furnished 
room" described in "Snow-Bound" has been restored, 
as far as possible, to the condition it was in on that stormy 
night so long ago, when the Whittier family and their 
guests were snow-bound. 

The founder of the family in America, came from 
Southampton, England, in 1638. He settled first in 
Salisbury, moving in 1647 to Haverhill. There his sons 
and grandsons lived for nearly two centuries. 

The poet speaks of "Snow-Bound" as "a homely pic- 
ture of old New England homes," and in it gives a loving 
sketch of each member of his family. John Whittier, 



his father, was a worthy representative of his pioneer an- 
cestors, strong and rugged, a man of action not of speech ; 
"no breath our father wasted," the poet says. In youth 
the elder John had fought his way through the wilder- 
ness of New Hampshire into Canada, bartering with the ^ ^ 
Indians and trappers, and many a thrilling tale of adven- \\/^ 
ture he must have had to tell that little group around 
the fire. He was a devout member of the Society of 
Friends, a leader In the affairs of Haverhill, and in all 
things a just man. 

His mind, however, was cast In a different mould from 
that of his poetic son; It was to the gentle Quaker 
mother that the youthful John went for sympathy In his 
literary aspirations, and there he found all the appre- 
ciation and encouragement that his shy, retiring nature 
demanded. For fifty years this good mother helped and 
guided and counseled her son, and, for that matter every 
one else who crossed her path and was in need of help 
and council, all who knew her esteeming her as one of 
the salntllest and loveliest of women. 

The uncle "Innocent of books" was Moses Whittler. 


Youngest brother of the poet's father, he owned a half 
interest In the Whittler farm. He spent his entire life 
in East Haverhill: 

"A simple, guileless, childlike man, 
Content to live w^here life began." 
He was wise in the traditions of the neighborhood and of 
the family, and knew the ways of the wood-creatures, 
whom he loved and understood better than human be- 
ings. Young John Whittier found a sympathetic com- 
panion in this kindly-natured man, and the stories Uncle 
Moses told of witchcraft and woodlore fell upon fertile 
soil and in due time bore fruit. 

Mercy Hussey, Mrs. Whittier's younger sister, was 
the "dear aunt" spoken of in the poem. She, too, spent 
most of her quiet life with her sister's family. She was 
a gentle, unselfish soul, who by her ministerings to the 
sick and unfortunate proved her fitness for her name 
Mercy. The love that her nephew bore her is shown in 
his description of her. 

Although Fate denied this sweet woman "a household 
mate," the grim Sisters did permit a tinge of romance to 





come Into this otherwise uneventful career. In her youth 
Mercy was betrothed to a worthy young man. Just be- 
fore the marriage he was called away on business. One 
evening as she sat by the fire, thinking, no doubt, of the 
absent lover, she felt impelled to go to the window and 
look out, and there was her betrothed on horseback, com- 
ing toward the house. Joyfully she ran to welcome him ; 
but when she opened the door there was trace of neither 
man or beast. After many weary days word came to 
Mercy that her lover had died on the day and at the hour 
of her vision. 

Mary, the elder sister, inherited the characteristics of 
her father: 

"Truth and almost sternly just, 
Impulsive, earnest, prompt to act." 

Unlike her father, however, she was entirely sympathetic 
with her brother's aspirations, and it was through her that 
his first poem was published. Mary had the confidence 
In the. young man's work which he himself lacked ; un- 
known to him she sent some of his verses to William 




:4l^ M 

- - r 

- J^ 

Lloj^d Garrison, then editor of the "Free Press," a weekly 
newspaper published in Newburyport. The poem was 
printed, and the sight of his work in print Induced Whit- 
tier to send others. Garrison became interested in his con- 
tributor and went to see him at Haverhill, which was the 
beginning of a lifelong friendship. 

Whittier's only brother, Matthew Franklin, was five 
years his junior. The boys worked together on the farm 
and were constant companions throughout their youth. 
Matthew, although the younger, was much the more 
muscular, and was the leader when strength was the 
requisite. Later in life both brothers were profoundly 
interested in the anti-slavery cause. Matthew wrote a 
series of humorous articles over the signature of "Ethan 
Spike of Hornby" in which he satirizes the foibles of the 
pro-slavery politicians. 

Elizabeth Hussey Whittler, the youngest member of 
the family, was the fortunate heiress of her mother's gentle 
nature. During her childhood she was the especial pet 
of her brother John; as she grew older she became his 
most intimate friend and companion. She, too, possessed 




the poetic temperament, together with many qualities 
quite lacking In her brother. 

His shyness and reticence found their complement In 
her social gift and ready wit. Colonel Thomas Went- 
worth Higginson, once the pastor at Newburyport and a 
frequent visitor at the Whittler home, says of her: "She 
was a woman never to be forgotten ; and no one can truly 
estimate the long celibate life of the poet without bear- 
ing in mind that he had for many years the concentrated 
wit and sympathy of all womankind in this one sister." 
Elizabeth died in 1864. During the year following 
Whittler wrote "Snow-Bound," while his heart was heavy 
with grief and he was a lonely man "with so much gone 
of life and love." He and his brother were now the 
only ones left of the family circle commemorated in the 

James Bright, the English Quaker, orator, and states- 
man, says; "In the poem 'Snow-Bound' there are lines 
on the death of the poet's sister which have nothing" 
superior to them in beauty and pathos in our language." 

Besides the family there were two guests at that cheer- 



ful fireside. "The master of the district school" was 
George Haskell, a native of Harvard, Massachusetts. 
While studying at Dartmouth College he taught one 
term in the school in East Haverhill. Later in life he 
came west, settling in Alton, Illinois, where he was active 
in the founding of Shurtleff College. He was a cultivated 
gentleman, and was doubtless familiar with Whittier's 
poems; but he seems never to have been aware that the 
poet was once his pupil or that he was the "brisk wielder 
of the birch and rule" involuntarily immortalized in 

The other guest was Miss Harriet Livermore, the ec- 
centric daughter of the Honorable Edward St. Loe Liver- 
more. Judging from the stories told of her, Whittier's 
description is not exaggerated, even the "facile power to 
■form a fist" being true to life: when words failed she 
had really resorted to blows to bring people to her way 
of thinking. At one time she was converted to Quaker- 
ism, but proved too forceful for the peace-loving Friends. 
When referred to in the poem she had embraced the doc- 
trine of the Second Advent and had traveled through 






Europe and the Holy Land proclaiming the speedy com- 
ing of the Lord. She visited "the Crazy Queen of 
Lebanon," who was Lady Hester Stanhope, an English- 
woman, the niece of William Pitt. Lady Hester aban- 
doned England after the death of her uncle and went to 
the Orient. In Syria she was received by the natives as 
a queen. Accepting the honor bestowed, she lived on 
Mount Lebanon for many j^ars, ruling her large retinue 
of subjects. Hither came Harriet Livermore and with her 
came "discord and annoy." Lady Hester, also a believer 
in the Second Advent, had in her stable two white horses 
with marks on their backs suggesting saddles ; the hostess, 
showing these to her guest, said that one was to be ridden 
by the Great King at his second coming, and that she 
would ride the other in company with Him. Thereupon, 
Miss Livermore, with some heat, explained that she, not 
Lady Hester, would ride the horse and be the bride of 
the Great King. The story is that Lady Hester accepted 
this correction of her theory, apparently if not actually. 
"Snow-Bound" is one of the best examples of autobi- 
ographical poetry. In a description of a snow-storm, 


iM- k:^^ 



y^sm'L ^i 

which cut off communication with the outside world, no 
uncommon event in isolated communities in cold New 
England, we are given an intimate picture of the poet's 
family and home life. Whittier, speaking of it in a 
letter, says: "It is a winter idyl -a picture of an old- 
fashioned farmer's fireside in winter, and if it were not 
mine I should call it pretty good." 

The years have gone, and few Americans in all that 
time have been unwilling to allow the poet much more 
than this half-grudging praise. As long as Americans live 
in placid family life through our rigorous winters, so 
long will they love and admire both the author and the 
poem of "Snow-Bound." 

*■■ k^^m(^ 


^0 QooD jSpirjt. 

V/niCfl BE^NGEU^lfilfT 

mi Auo :e>y our connoN 
Wood firl : and as thlcele^- 

TlAL.riRf, DR1VE3 AW\Y J)AR!0 

;SPlRlIS,j50 AUG THl^ FIRLs^ 



"Announced by all the trumpets of the 

Arrives the snow ; and, driving o'er the 

Seems nowhere to alight ; the whited air 

Hides hills and woods, the river and the 

And veils the farm-house at the garden's 

The sled and traveller stopped, th? 
courier's feet 

Delayed, all friends shut out, the house- 
mates sit 

Around the radiant fireplace, inclosed I f 

In a tumultuous privacy of storm." 

Emerson, The Snow-Storm. 





The sun that brief December day 

Rose cheerless over hills of gray, 

And, darkly circled, gave at noon 

A sadder light than waning moon. 

Slow tracing down the thickening sky 

Its mute and ominous prophecy, 

A portent seeming less than threat, 

It sank from sight before it set. 

A chill no coat, however stout. 

Of homespun stuff could quite shut out, 

A hard, dull bitterness of cold. 

That checked, mid-vein, the circling race 

Of life-blood in the sharpened face. 

The coming of the snow-storm told. 

The wind blew east; we heard the roar 

Of Ocean on his wintry shore. 

And felt the strong pulse throbbing there 

Beat with low rhythm our inland air. 


Meanwhile we did our nightly chores, — 
Brought in the wood from out of doors, 
Littered the stalls, and from the mows 
Raked down the herd's-grass for the cows ; 
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn ; 
And, sharply clashing horn on horn 
Impatient down the stanchion rows 
The cattle shake their walnut bows ; 
While, peering from his early perch 
Upon the scaffold's pole of birch, 
The cock his crested helmet bent 
And down his querulous challenge sent. 
Unwarmed by any sunset light 
The gray day darkened into night, 
A night made hoary with the swarm 
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm. 
As zigzag wavering to and fro 
Crossed and recrossed the winged snow : 





And ere the early bedtime came 
The white drift piled the window-frame, 
And through the glass the clothes-line posts 
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts. 

So all night long the storm roared on : 
The morning broke without a sun ; 
In tiny spherule traced with lines 
Of Nature's geometric signs, 
In starry flake and pellicle 
All day the hoary meteor fell ; 
And, when the second morning shone. 
We looked upon a world unknown. 
On nothing we could call our own. 
Around the glistening wonder bent 
The blue walls of the firmament. 
No cloud above, no earth below, — 
A universe of sky and snow! 


The old familiar sights of ours 

Took marvelous shapes; strange domes and 

Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood, 
Or garden-wall or belt of wood ; 
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed, 
A fenceless drift what once was road; 
The bridle-post an old man sat 
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat; 
The well-curb had a Chinese roof; 
And even the long sweep, high aloof, 
In its slant splendor, seemed to tell 
Of Pisa's leaning miracle. 

A prompt, decisive man, no breath 
Our father wasted : "Boys, a path !" 
Well pleased, ( for when did farmer boy 
Count such a summons less than joy?) 




Our buskins on our feet we drew; 

With mittened hands, and caps drawn low 
To guard our necks and ears from snow, 
We cut the solid whiteness through ; 
And, where the drift was deepest, made 
A tunnel walled and overlaid 
With dazzling crystal : we had read 
^Of rare Aladdin's wondrous cave 
And to our own his name we gave, 
With many a wish the luck were ours 
To test his lamp's supernal powers. 
We reached the barn with merry din. 
And roused the prisoned brutes within. 
The old horse thrust his long head out, 
And grave with wonder gazed about; 
The cock his lusty greeting said 
And forth his speckled harem led; 
The oxen lashed their tails, and hooked 

And mild reproach of hunger looked; 
The horned patriarch of the sheep, 
Like Egypt's Amun roused from sleep, 
Shook his sage head with gesture mute, 
^M And emphasized with stamp of foot. 

All day the gusty north-wind bore 
The loosening drift its breath before; 
Low circling round its southern zone, 
The sun through dazzling snow-mist shone. 
No church-bell lent its Christian tone 
To the savage air, no social smoke 
Curled over woods of snow-hung oak. 
A solitude made more intense 
By dreary-voiced elements. 
The shrieking of the mindless wind, 
The moaning tree-boughs swaying blind, 
And on the glass the unmeaning beat 


Of ghostly finger-tips of sleet. 
Beyond the circle of our hearth 
No welcome sound of toil or mirth 
Unbound the spell, and testified 
Of human life and thought outside. 
We minded that the sharpest ear 
The buried brooklet could not hear, 
The music of whose liquid lip 
Had been to us companionship, 
And, in our lonely life, had grown 
To have an almost human tone. 

As night drew on, and, from the crest 
Of wooded knolls that ridged the west. 
The sun, a snow-blown traveller, sank 
From sight beneath the smothering bank. 
We piled with care our nightly stack 
Of wood against the chimney-back, — 


The oaken log, green, huge, and thick, 
And on its top the stout back-stick; 
The knotty fore-stick laid apart, 
And filled between with curious art 
The ragged brush; then, hovering near, 
We watched the first red blaze appear. 
Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam 
On whitewashed wall and sagging beam, 
Until the old, rude-furnished room 
Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom; 
While radiant with a mimic flame 
Outside the sparkling drift became. 
And through the bare-boughed lilac-tree 
Our own warm hearth seemed blazing free. 
The crane and pendent trammels showed. 
The Turk's heads on the andirons glowed; 
While childish fancy, prompt to tell 
The meaning of the miracle, 



f. , 4 


Whispered the old rhyme : 

^^ Under the tree, 
When fire outdoors burns merrily, 
There the witches are making tea.^^ 

The moon above the eastern wood 
Shone at its full; the hill-range stood 
Transfigured in the silver flood, 
Its blown snows flashing cold and keen, 
Dead white, save where some sharp ravine 
Took shadow, or the sombre green 
Of hemlocks turned to pitchy black 
Against the whiteness of their back. 
For such a world and such a night 
Most fitting that unwarming light, 
Which only seemed where'er it fell 
To make the coldness visible. 


Shut in from all the world without, 
We sat the clean-winged hearth about, 
Content to let the north-wind roar 
In baffled rage at pane and door, 
While the red logs before us beat 
The frost-line back with tropic heat; 
And ever, when a louder blast 
Shook beam and rafter as it passed. 
The merrier up its roaring draught 
The great throat of the chimney laughed, 
The house-dog on his paws outspread 
Laid to the fire his drowsy head. 
The cat's dark silhouette on the wall 
A couchant tiger's seemed to fall ; 
And, for the winter fireside meet 
Between the andirons' straddling feet 
The mug of cider simmered slow, 
The apples sputtered in a row, 


And, close at hand, the basket stood 
With nuts from brown October's wood. 

What matter how the night behaved? 
What matter how the north-wind raved? 
Blow high, blow low, not all its snow 
Could quench our hearth-fire's ruddy glow 
(J3 Time and Change! — with hair as gray 
As was my sire's that winter day. 
How strange it seems, wdth so much gone 
Of life and love, to still live on! 
Ah, brother! only I and thou 
Are left of all that circle now, — 
The dear home faces whereupon 
That fitful firelight paled and shone. 
Henceforward, listen as we will. 
The voices of that hearth are still ; 
Look where we may, the wide earth o'er, 



Those lighted faces smile no more. 

We tread the paths their feet have worn, 

We sit beneath their orchard trees, 

We hear, like them, the hum of bees 
And rustle of the bladed corn ; 
We turn the pages that they read. 

Their written words we linger o'er. 
But in the sun they cast no shade 
No voice is heard, no sign is made. 

No step is on the conscious floor! 
Yet Love will dream and Faith will trust 
(Since He who knows our need is just) 
That somehow, somewhere, meet we must 
Alas for him who never sees 
The stars shine through his cypress-trees! 
Who, hopeless, lays his dead away. 
Nor looks to see the breaking day 
Across the mournful marbles play! 

jrfli;::iaj^Sa^l-■i-^^^J.>:r.-ui^^v^.^!Vag^)f«iBfe-. - uS 


Who hath not learned, in hours of faith, 
The truth to flesh and sense unknown, 

That Life is ever Lord of Death, 
And Love can never lose its own ! x 

We sped the time with stories old, 
Wrought puzzles out, and riddles told. 
Or stammered from our school-book lore 
"The chief of Gambia's golden shore." 
How often since, when all the land 
Was clay in Slavery's shaping hand. 
As if a far-blown trumpet stirred 
The languorous, sin-sick air, I heard 
*^Does not the voice of reason cry, 

Claim the first right which Nature gave, 
From the red scourge of bondage fly 

Nor deign to live a burdened slave! 
Our father rode again his ride 


'[Wy.MfryrA- c"#^ 

On Memphremagog's wooded side 
Sat down again to moose and samp 
In trapper's hut and Indian camp; 
Lived o'er the old idyllic ease 
Beneath St. Francois' hemlock trees; 
Again for him the moonlight shone 
On Norman cap and bodiced zone; 
Again he heard the violin play 
Which led the village dance away, 
And mingled in its merry whirl 
The grandam and the laughing girl. 
Or, nearer home, our steps he led 
Where Salisbury's level marshes spread 

Mile-wide as flies the laden bee; 
Where merry mowers, hale and strong, 
Swept, scythe on scythe, their swaths along 

The low green prairies of the sea. 
We shared the fishing off Boar's Head, 



And round the rocky Isles of Shoals 
The hake-broil on the driftwood coals ; 
The chowder on the sand-beach made, 
Dipped by the hungry, steaming hot. 
With spoons of clam-shell from the pot. 
We heard the tales of withcraf t old, 
And dream and sign and marvel told 
To sleepy listeners as they lay 
Stretched idly on the salted hay, 
Adrift along the winding shores, 

When favoring breezes deigned to blow 
The square sail of the gundalow. 
And idle lay the useless oars. 
Our mother, while she turned her wheel 
Or run the new-knit stocking-heel, 
Told how the Indian hordes came down 
At midnight on Cochecho town. 
And how her own great-uncle bore 


His cruel scalp-mark to fourscore. 
Recalling, in her fitting phrase, 
So rich and picturesque and free 
(The common unrhymed poetry 
Of simple life and country ways), 
The story of her early days, — 
She made us welcome to her home ; 
Old hearths grew wide to give us room ; 
We stole with her a frightened look 
At the gray wizard's conjuring-book. 
The fame whereof went far and wide 
Through all the simple country-side; 
We heard the hawks at twilight play. 
The boat-horn on Piscataqua, 
The loon's weird laughter far away; 
We fished her little trout-brook, knew 
What flowers in wood and meadow grew, 
What sunny hillsides autumn-brown 

She climbed to shake the ripe nuts down 
Saw where in sheltered cove and bay 
The ducks' black squadron anchored lay 
And heard the wild geese calling loud 
Beneath the gray November cloud. 
Then, haply, with a look more grave, 
And soberer tone, some tale she gave 
From painful SewePs ancient tome, — 
Beloved in every Quaker home, 
Of faith fire-winged by martyrdom 
Or Chalkley's Journal, old and quaint, — 
Gentlest of skippers, rare sea-saint! — 
Who, when the dreary calms prevailed, 
And water-butt and bread-cask failed 
And cruel, hungry eyes pursued 
His portly presence, mad for food. 
With dark hints muttered under breath 
Of casting lots for life or death, 



Offered, if Heaven withheld supplies, 

To be himself the sacrifice. 

Then, suddenly, as if to save 

The good man from his living grave, 

A ripple on the water grew, 

A school of porpoise flashed in view. 

'Take, eat," he said, ''and be content; 

These fishes in my stead are sent 

By Him who gave the tangled ram 

To spare the child of Abraham." 

Our uncle, innocent of books 

Was rich in lore of fields and brooks. 

The ancient teachers never dumb 

Of Nature's unhoused lyceum. 

In moons and tides and weather wise. 

He read the clouds as prophecies. 

And foul or fair could well divine, 

By many an occult hint and sign, 
Holding the cunning-warded keys 
To all the woodcraft mysteries ; 
Himself to Nature's heart so near 
That all her voices in his ear 
Of beast or bird had meanings clear, 
Like Apollonius of old, 
Who knew the tales the sparrows told, 
Or Hermes, who interpreted 
What the sage cranes of Nilus said; 
A simple, guileless, childlike man, 
Content to live where life began ; 
Strong only on his native grounds. 
The little world of sights and sounds 
Whose girdle was the parish bounds, 
Whereof his fondly partial pride 
The common features magnified. 
As Surrey hills to mountains grew 



In White of Selborne's loving view, — 
He told how teal and loon he shot, 
And how the eagle's eggs he got, 
The feats on pond and river done. 
The prodigies of rod and gun; 
Till, warming with the tales he told, 
Forgotten was the outside cold. 
The bitter wind unheeded blew, 
From ripening corn the pigeons flew, 
The partridge drummed i' the wood 
Went fishing down the river-brink. 
In fields with bean or clover gay, 
The woodchuck, like a hermit gray, 

Peered from the doorway of his cell ; 
The muskrat plied the mason's trade 
And tier by tier his mud-walls laid; 
And from the shagbark overhead 

The grizzled squirrel dropped his shell. 

the mink 


S ^ iW 





Next, the dear aunt, whose smile of cheer 
And voice in dreams I see and hear, — 
The sweetest woman ever Fate 
Perverse denied a household mate, 
Who, lonely, homeless, not the less 
Found peace in love's unselfishness, 
And welcome whereso'er she went, 
A calm and gracious element. 
Whose presence seemed the sweet income 
And womanly atmosphere of home, — 
Called up her girlhood memories. 
The huskings and the apple-bees. 
The sleigh-rides and the summer sails 
Weaving through all the poor details 
And homespun warp of circumstance 
A golden woof-thread of romance. 
For well she kept her genial mood 
And simple faith of maidenhood; 


Before her still a cloud-land lay, 
The mirage loomed across her way; 
The morning dew, diat dried so soon 
With others, glistened at her noon; 
Through years of toil and soil and care, 
From glossy tress to thin gray hair. 
All unprofaned she held apart 
The virgin fancies of the heart. 
Be shame to him of woman born 
Who had for such but thought of scorn. 

There, too, our elder sister plied 
Her evening task the stand beside; 
A full, rich nature, free to trust. 
Truthful and almost sternly just. 
Impulsive, earnest, prompt to act, 
And make her generous thought a fact, 
Keeping with many a light disguise 

:i ^ 


The secret of self-sacrifice. 
O heart sore-tried! thou hast the best 
That Heaven itself could give thee, — rest^ 
Rest from all bitter thoughts and things! 
How many a poor one's blessing went 
With thee beneath the low green tent 
Whose curtain never outward swings! 

As one who held herself a part 
Of all she saw, and let her heart 

Against the household bosom lean, 
Upon the motley-braided mat 
Our youngest and our dearest sat, 
Lifting her large, sweet, asking eyes. 
Now bathed within the fadeless green 
And holy peace of Paradise. 
Oh, looking from some heavenly hill, 

Or from the shade of saintly palms, 


Or silver reach of river calms, 
Do those large eyes behold me still? 
With me one little year ago : — 
The chill weight of the winter snow 

For months upon her grave has lain; 
And now, when summer south-winds blow 

And brier and harebell bloom again, 
I tread the pleasant paths we trod, 
I see the violet-sprinkled sod. 
Whereon she leaned, too frail and weak 
The hillside flowers she loved to seek 
Yet following me where'er I went 
With dark eyes full of love's content. 
The birds are glad; the brier-rose fills 
The air with sweetness ; all the hills 
Stretch green to June's unclouded sky; 
But still I wait with ear and eye 
For something gone which should be nigh 




A loss in all familiar things, 

In flower that blooms, and bird that sings. 

And yet, dear heart! remembering thee, 

Am I not richer than of old? 
Safe in thy immortality, 

What change can reach the wealth I hold? 

What chance can mar the pearl and gold 
Thy love hath left in trust with me? 
And while in life's late afternoon. 

Where cool and long the shadows grow, 
I walk to meet the night that soon 

Shall shape and shadow overflow, 
I cannot feel that thou art far. 
Since near at need the angels are; 
And when the sunset gates unbar, 

Shall I not see thee waiting stand, 
And, white against the evening star. 

The welcome of thy beckoning hand? 



Brisk wielder of the birch and rule, 
The master of the district school 
Held at the fire his favored place; 
Its warm glow lit a laughing face 
Fresh-hued and fair, where scarce appeared 
The uncertain prophecy of beard. 
He teased the mitten-blinded cat, 
Played cross-pins on my uncle's hat, 
Sang songs, and told us what befalls 
In classic Dartmouth's college halls. 
Born the wild Northern hills among. 
From whence his yeoman father wrung 
By patient toil subsistence scant. 
Not competence and yet not want, 
He early gained the power to pay 
His cheerful, self-reliant way; 
Could doff at ease his scholar's gown 
To peddle wares from town to town; 



Or through the long vacation's reach 

In lonely lowland districts teach, 

Where all the droll experience found 

At stranger hearths in boarding round, 

The moonlit skater's keen delight, 

The sleigh-drive through the frosty night, 

The rustic party, with its rough 

Accompaniment of blind-man's-buff, 

And whirling plate, and forfeits paid, 

His winter task a pastime made. 

Happy the snow-locked homes wherein 

He tuned his merry violin, 

Or played the athlete in the barn. 

Or held the good dame's winding yarn, 

Or mirth-provoking versions told 

Of classic legends rare and old, 

Wherein the scenes of Greece and Rome 

Had all the commonplace of home, 


And little seemed at best the odds 
'Twixt Yankee pedlers and old gods ; 
Where Pindus-born Arachthus took 
The guise of any grist-mill brook, 
And dread Olympus at his will 
Became a huckleberry hill. 
A careless boy that night he seemed; 

But at his desk he had the look 
And air of one who wisely schemed, 
And hostage from the future took 
In trained thought and lore of book. 
Large -brained, clear-eyed, — of such as he 
Shall Freedom's young apostles be, 
Who, following in War's bloody trail. 
Shall every lingering wrong assail ; 
All chains from limb and spirit strike. 
Uplift the black and white alike ; 
Scatter before their swift advance 

^ s $f^^ou^ 


The darkness and the ignorance, 

The pride, the lust, the squalid sloth. 

Which nurtured Treason's monstrous growth 

Made murder pastime, and the hell 

Of prison-torture possible; 

The cruel lie of caste refute. 

Old forms remould, and substitute 

For Slavery's lash the freeman's will. 

For blind routine, wise-handed skill ; 

A school-house plant on every hill, 

Stretching in radiate nerve-lines thence 

The quick wires of intelligence; 

Till North and South together brought 

Shall own the same electric thought. 

In peace a common flag salute. 

And, side by side in labor's free 

And unresentful rivalry, 

Harvest the fields wherein they fought. 









Another guest that winter night 
Flashed back from lustrous eyes the light. 
I Unmarked by time, and yet not young, 
The honeyed music of her tongue 
And words of meekness scarcely told 
A nature passionate and bold. 
Strong, self-concentred, spurning guide, 
Its milder features dwarfed beside 
Her unbent will's majestic pride. 
She sat among us, at the best, 
A not unfeared, half-welcome guest, 
Rebuking with her cultured phrase 
Our homeliness of words and ways. 
A certain pard-like, treacherous grace 

Swayed the lithe limbs and dropped the lash 
Lent the white teeth their dazzling flash; 
And under low brows, black with night, 
Rayed out at times a dangerous light; 




The sharp heat-lightnings of her face 
Presaging ill to him whom Fate 
Condemned to share her love or hate. 
A woman tropical, intense 
In thought and act, in soul and sense, 
She blended in a like degree 
The vixen and the devotee, 
Revealing with each freak or feint 
The temper of Petruchio's Kate, 
The raptures of Siena's saint. 
Her tapering hand and rounded wrist 
Had facile power to form a fist; 
The warm, dark languish of her eyes 
Was never safe from wrath's surprise. 
Brows saintly calm and lips devout 
Knew every change of scowl and pout: 
And the sweet voice had notes more high 
And shrill for social battle-cry. 


:i '^ K 


Since then what old cathedral town 
Has missed her pilgrim staff and gown, 
What convent-gate has held its lock 
Against the challenge of her knock! 
Through Smyrna's plague-hushed thorough- 
Up sea-set Malta's rocky stairs, 
Gray olive slopes of hills that hem 
Thy tombs and shrines, Jerusalem, 
Or startling on her desert throne 
The crazy Queen of Lebanon 
With claims fantastic as her own. 
Her tireless feet have held their way; 
And still, unrestful, bowed, and gray. 
She watches under Eastern skies, 

With hope each day renewed and fresh, 
The Lord's quick coming in the flesh, 
Whereof she dreams and prophesies! 



Where'er her troubled path may be, 
The Lord's sweet pity with her go! 

The outward wayward life we see, 
The hidden springs we may not know 

Nor is it given us to discern 

What threads the fatal sisters spun. 
Through what ancestral years has run 

The sorrow with the woman born, 

What forged her cruel chain of moods, 

What set her feet in solitudes. 

And held the love within her mute, 

What mingled madness in the blood, 
A lifelong discord and annoy, 
Water of tears with oil of joy. 

And hid within the folded bud 
Perversities of flower and fruit. 

It is not ours to separate 

The tangled skein of will and fate. 


To show what metes and bounds should stand 
Upon the soul's debatable land, 
And between choice and Providence 
Divide the circle of events ; 

But He who knows our frame is just, 
Merciful and compassionate, 
And full of sweet assurances 
And hope for all the language is, 

That He rememberethwe are dust! 
At last the great logs, crumbling low, 
Sent out a dull and duller glow. 
The bull's-eye watch that hung in view, 
Ticking its weary circuit through, 
Pointed with mutely-warning sign 
Its black hand to the hour of nine. 
That sign the pleasant circle broke : 
My uncle ceased his pipe to smoke. 
Knocked from its bowl the refuse gray, 


And laid it tenderly away, 
Then roused himself to safely cover 
The dull red brand with ashes over. 
And while, with care, our mother laid 
The work aside, her steps she stayed 
One moment, seeking to express 
Her grateful sense of happiness 
For food and shelter, warmth and health, 
And love's contentment more than wealth, 
With simple wishes (not the weak, 
Vain prayers which no fulfilment seek 
But such as warm the generous heart, 
O'er-prompt to do with Heaven its part) 
That none might lack, that bitter night, 
For bread and clothing, warmth and light. 

Within our beds awhile we heard 
The wind that round the gables roared. 



With now and then a ruder shock, 
Which made our very bedsteads rock. 
We heard the loosened clapboards tost, 
The board-nails snapping in the frost; 
And on us, through the unplastered wall. 
Felt the lightsifted snow-flakes fall; 
But sleep stole on, as sleep will do 
When hearts are light and life is new; 
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew, 
Till in the summer-land of dreams 
They softened to the sound of streams, 
Low stir of leaves, and dip of oars. 
And lapsing waves on quiet shores. 

Next morn w^e weakened with the shout 
Of merry voices high and clear; 
And saw the teamsters drawing near 
To break the drifted highways out. 




Down the long hillside treading slow 

We saw the half-buried oxen go, 

Shaking the snow from heads uptost, 

Their straining nostrils white with frost. 

Before our door the straggling train 

Drew up, an added team to gain. 

The elders threshed their hands a-cold. 
Passed, with the cider-mug, their jokes 
From lip to lip ; the younger folks 

Down the loose snow-banks, wrestling, rolled. 

Then toiled again the cavalcade 

O'er windy hill, through clogged ravine, 
And woodland paths that wound between 

Low drooping-pine-boughs winter-weighed. 

From every barn a team afoot 

At every house a new recruit, 

Where, drawn by Nature's subtlest law, 

Haply the watchful young men saw 


'^"s.' <^'-- 

Sweet doorway pictures of the curls 
And curious eyes of merry girls, 
Lifting their hands in mock defence 
Against the snow-balls' compliments, 
And reading in each missive tost 
The charm which Eden never lost. 

We heard once more the sleigh-bells' sound 

And, following wdiere the teamsters led. 

The wise old Doctor went his round, 

Just pausing at our door to say, 

In the brief autocratic way 

Of one who, prompt at Duty's call, 

Was free to urge her claim on all, 

That some poor neighbor sick abed 
At night our mother's aid would need. 
For, one in generous thought and deed. 

What mattered in the sufferer's sight 




The Quaker matron's inward light, 
The Doctor's mail of Calvin's creed? 
All hearts confess the saints elect 

Who, twain in faith, in love agree, 
And melt not in an acid sect 

The Christian pearl of charity! 

So days went on : a week had passed 
Since the great w^orld was heard from last. 
The Almanac we studied o'er, 
Read and reread our little store 
Of books and pamphlets, scarce a score; 
One harmless novel, mostly hid 
From younger eyes, a book forbid, 
And poetry, (or good or bad, 
A single book was all we had,) 
Where Ellwood's meek, drab-skirted Muse, 

A stranger to the heathen Nine, 



^H . " a[===# 1 ^ 

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Sang, with a somewhat nasal whine, 
The wars of David and the Jews. 
At last the floundering carrier bore 
The village paper to our door. 
Lo! broadening outward as we read. 
To warmer zones the horizon spread; 
In panoramic length unrolled 
We saw the marvel that it told. 
Before us passed the painted Creeks, 

And daft McGregor on his raids 

In Costa Rica's everglades. 
And up Taygetus winding slow 
Rode Ypsilanti's Mainote Greeks, 
A Turk's head at each saddle bow! 
Welcome to us its week-old news, 
Its corner for the rustic Muse, 

Its monthly gauge of snow and rain 
Its record, mingling in a breath 

The wedding bell and dirge of death ; 
Jest, anecdote, and love-lorn tale, 
The latest culprit sent to jail ; 
Its hue and cry of stolen and lost, 
Its vendue sales and goods at cost. 

And traffic calling loud for gain. 
We felt the stir of hall and street. 
The pulse of life that round us beat; 
The chill embargo of the snow 
Was melted in the genial glow; 
Wide swung again our ice-locked door, 
And all the world was ours once more! 

Clasp, Angel of the backward look 
And folded wings of ashen gray 
And voice of echoes far away. 

The brazen covers of thy book; 

The weird palimpsest old and vast 




Wherein thou hid'st the spectral past; 
Where, closely mingling, pale and glow 
The characters of joy and woe; 
The monographs of outlived years, 
Or smile-illumed or dim with tears, 

Green hills of life that slope to death. 
And haunts of home, whose vistaed trees 
Shade oflf to mournful cypresses 

With the white amaranths underneath. 
Even while I look, I can but heed 

The restless sands' incessant fall. 
Importunate hours that hours succeed. 
Each clamorous with its own sharp need, 

And duty keeping pace with all. 
Shut down and clasp the heavy lids ; 
I hear again the voice that bids 
The dreamer leave his dream midway 
For larger hopes and graver fears: 


Life greatens in these later years, 
The century's aloe flowers to-day! 

Yet, haply, in some lull of life. 

Some Truce of God which breaks its strife. 

The worldling's eyes shall gather dew. 

Dreaming in throngful city ways 
Of winter joys his boyhood knew; 
And dear and early friends — the few 
Who yet remain — shall pause to view 

These Flemish pictures of old days; 
Sit with me by the homestead hearth, 
And stretch the hands of memory forth 

To warm them at the wood-fire's blaze! 
And thanks untraced to lips unknown 
Shall greet me like the odors blown 
From unseen meadows newly mown, 
Or lilies floating in some pond. 




Wood-f ringed, the wayside gaze beyond; 
The traveller owns the grateful sense 
Of sweetness near, he knows not whence, 
And, pausing, takes with forehead bare 
The benediction of the air. 




Wallace Rice 

P^S^ 35' The Leaning Tower of Pisa, in Italy, is a campanile or 
bell-tower. The architecture is the best of the southern Romanesque. 
The walls, thirteen feet through at the base and half as thick at the 
top, are of white marble. It is, however, not so much the beauty of its 
architecture that has made it famous, as the fact that the tower is four- 
teen feet out of the perpendicular. There is no reason to suppose that 
the architects intended that the tower should be built in this oblique 
position; it would appear to have been assumed while the work was 
still in progress. 

Page 37. This, one of the most entertaining tales in "The Arabian 
Nights' Entertainment," is an interpolation from the Persian, not 
properly in *'The Thousand and One Nights." 

Page 39. Amun, or Ammon, one of the greatest of the Egyptian 
deities, is represented as having a ram's head. 

The Whittier house stands in an isolated spot. There were no 
neighbors within half a mile during Whittier's boyhood. 

Page 53. The line "The chief of Gambia's golden shore" and the 
four lines (in italics) beginning "Does not the voice of reason cry" 
are taken from a poem, "The African Chief," by Sarah Wentworth 
Morton. This poem was in the "American Preceptor," a school-book 
in use when Whittier was a boy. 

Page 55. Whittier's father made several trips to Canada, before 
his marriage. He travelled through the wilds of New Hampshire, 
where there were few white settlers. 

Page 57. Whittier's mother's family settled in Somersworth be- 
tween Dover and Portsmouth, a region much troubled by the Indians. 
"Cochecho town" is Dover, New Hampshire. 



Page 6i. William Sewell was a Quaker historian, author of "The 
History of the Rise, Increase, and Progress, of the Christian People 
called Quakers." 

Thomas Calkley was a Quaker, the son of an English tradesman. 
He travelled through England and Scotland, preaching, finally coming 
to Philadelphia in 1700. The incident referred to in the poem is 
found in his "Journal," an account of his life published in 1747. 

Page 63. The story of Isaac's deliverance is in Genesis xxii, 13. 

Page 6S' ApoUonius, a disciple of the Pathagorean philosophy, 
lived in the first century of the Christian era. He professed a knowl- 
edge of the language of birds and beasts. 

Hermes Trismegistus — Hermes the thrice-glorified — is the name 
bestowed by the Greeks upon the Eg}^ptian god Thoth, to whom the 
priests attributed their writings upon the profounder topics of their 
religion and on life in general. 

Page 67. Gilbert White, a clergyman of the English Church and 
the first of modern English naturalists, was born at Selborne in 1720. 
His principal work is the "Natural History of Selborne." Its grace- 
ful and attractive style has given it high rank among English classics, 
its accurate observations equal weight as a book of science. 

Page 79. The schoolmaster was George Haskell, a native of Har- 
vard, Massachusetts. See Introduction. 

Page 81. It was customary for the district schoolteacher to board 
with the families of his pupils, each family keeping him a stated length 
of time. 

The Arachthus River (now called Arta) rises in the Pindus Moun- 
tains in Greece. 

Page 83. Olympus was the heaven of the Greek gods, symbolized 
on earth by Mount Olympus In Thessaly. 

Page 87. The other guest was Miss Harriet Livermore. See 



Page 8g. See Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew," in which 
Kate bears the title-role. 

St. Catherine of Siena is the patron of the Dominicans. While still 
a child she practiced extraordinary mortifications of the flesh. The 
stigmata of Christ were imprinted upon her. 

Page gi. "The crazy Queen of Lebanon" was Lady Hester Stan- 
hope. See Introdiictio7i, 

Page 103. Dr. Weld, of Haverhil, was "the wise old Doctor." 

Page lOS' One of Whittier's earliest attempts at verse was a 
rh3^med catalogue of his father's books. 

Thomas Elwood, an English author and writer of verse, was for 
some time reader to the blind poet, Milton, and it was at his sug- 
gestion that "Paradise Regained" was written. He himself wrote an 
epic poem in five books called Davideis. It concerns itself with David, 
King of Israel. 

The nine Muses were the daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne 
(Memory). They presided over poetry, music, and the liberal arts 
and sciences. 

Page loy. The Creek Indians exchanged their lands in Georgia 
and Alabama for lands west of the Mississippi. 

Sir Gregor McGregor was a Scotchman, who, in 182 1, tried to es- 
tablish a Scotch colony in Costa Rica. The attempt was a miserable 

Taygetus is a mountain range in southern Greece, near the district 
of Maina. Ypsilanti, the Greek patriot, led these mountaineers in the 
struggle against the Turks which finally freed Greece from foreign 

Page 113. In the Middle Ages private warfare was common. 
The Church, seeking to lessen the evil, instituted the custom known 
as the Truce of God, decreeing that from Wednesday night until 
Monday morning, upon holy days, and during stated holy seasons, all 
men should be at peace. 



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